Bridgwater Museum
Copyright © Bridgwater Blake Museum 2016
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The Friends of Blake Museum were inaugurated in March 2000. They were to support the museum practically and financially. They lobbied the Council on repairing the mill from 2001, and in 2003 became a registered charity. Proposals to move the Museum to the Town Hall in 2003 were opposed, and this led to the formation of The Blake Museum Working Group in 2004 to see how the museum might be acquired and managed independently. Matters drifted until the end of 2007, when the Council announced that funding for the museum would cease on March 2008. After protracted negotiations in which members of the FRIENDS were involved, the Museum was transferred to the Bridgwater Town Council in 2009, with funding from the District Council for the next four years to allow refurbishment to be undertaken. The Friends would also undertake to manage the Museum on behalf of the Town Council. From then, the Friends have run the museum on a daily basis under the guidance of the Honorary Curators. During the refurbishment in 2009 and the annual winter shut downs ever since, the Museum has been completely overhauled. It has been re-painted and re-wired throughout. Most galleries have modern display cases with low-energy LED lighting. The Museum is fully networked with computer access in most rooms. The gardens have been transformed. Several displays are changed annually. The Friends donate several thousand pounds a year to the Town Council towards running costs, raised by membership fees, coffee mornings, two Fairs, a winter book sale and teas sold at the summer band concerts in Blake Gardens.
The Friends of Blake Museum
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Friends Christmas Fayre 2008